SO, WHY CAN’T WE JUST SEND THE BUG­GER BACK?

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By SI­MON DEAN

ONCE again, Bri­tain has been dic­tated to by the Euro­pean Court and the ques­tion is be­ing asked: just who the Hell do they think they are?

Rad­i­cal cleric Abu Qatada poses a se­ri­ous risk to the UK’S na­tional se­cu­rity but is now free to walk the streets af­ter judges in Brus­sels banned us from de­port­ing him to Jor­dan – where he faces ter­ror charges.

His re­lease from Long Lartin high-se­cu­rity jail in Eve­sham, Worcs, came as Home Of­fice Min­is­ter James Bro­ken­shire ar­rived in Jor­dan for talks with gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in the cap­i­tal Amman.

Qatada was let out af­ter ap­ply­ing for bail when hu­man rights judges in Europe ruled he could not be de­ported with­out as­sur­ances from Jor­dan that ev­i­dence gained through tor­ture would not be used against him.

Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May now has just three months to show the Gov­ern­ment is mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in se­cur­ing those as­sur­ances or risk Qatada – once de­scribed by a judge as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe – be­ing freed from his bail con­di­tions.

Qatada was con­victed in his ab­sence in Jor­dan of in­volve­ment with ter­ror at­tacks in 1998 and has fea­tured in hate ser­mons found on videos in

the flat of one of the Septem­ber 11 bombers.

So Bri­tain, one of the lead­ing lights in the war on ter­ror, is in the bizarre po­si­tion of giv­ing sanc­tu­ary to a con­victed ter­ror­ist who is wanted in his home coun­try – a key ally of ours in the Mid­dle East.

And Bri­tish tax­pay­ers – who 51-year-old Qatada has pledged to do harm – are PAY­ING ben­e­fits to this man and his brood.

Qatada’s mother Aisha Oth­man has even called for the cleric to be sent back to Jor­dan.

“We want him home now,” she told the Daily Mail, adding: “I don’t know why the Bri­tish keep him. There is no good rea­son.”

The ques­tion must be asked: Why don’t we just ig­nore the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights and send the bug­ger back to Jor­dan?

As a sig­na­tory – and ar­chi­tect – of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights, Bri­tain is bound to abide by the judg­ments of the court.

One com­men­ta­tor has said that to ig­nore the court – and the rule of law – would make Bri­tain “like Si­cily with nukes”.

But Con­ser­va­tive for­mer Home Of­fice min­is­ter, David Mel­lor, said Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May should sim­ply ig­nore the rul­ing by the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights (ECHR) and “put him on a plane this morn­ing”.

What’s the worst hap­pen?

The­o­ret­i­cally, the Euro­pean Court could im­pose mas­sive fines.

But Bri­tain could sim­ply refuse to pay them.

Bri­tain could be thrown out of the Coun­cil of Europe for re­fus­ing to pay the fine, though there is un­likely to be the po­lit­i­cal will to do this – es­pe­cially when most other mem­ber states sym­pa­thise with Bri­tain’s po­si­tion.

that

could

Le­gal

Tory MP Do­minic Raab has gone fur­ther. The Ox­ford-ed­u­cated for­mer in­ter­na­tional lawyer says it would be per­fectly le­gal to boot out Qatada, as our courts have given his de­por­ta­tion the green light.

He said: “Bri­tain should de­port Qatada and ig­nore Stras­bourg. We can do it legally be­cause the Supreme Court have said so.

“There is no risk of a fine be­cause Stras­bourg does not have the power. No coun­try has ever been kicked out of the Coun­cil of Europe – and the Com­mit­tee of Min­is­ters passed a res­o­lu­tion last year warn­ing the Stras­bourg Court to stop med­dling in de­por­ta­tion cases.”

Peter Bone, a se­nior Con­ser­va­tive back­bencher, called for the Gov­ern­ment to de­port Qatada and “worry about the con­se­quences of the Euro­pean Court later”.

“Other coun­tries have done this in the past – Italy did it, they put their na­tional in­ter­ests first,” he said.

RAD­I­CAL: Abu Qatada ( and the Euro­pean Court

( and the Courts of Jus­tice in Jor­dan (above)

BOR­ROWED TIME:

Theresa May

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